Communications Technology

Productivity through communication technology

4 ways to boost productivity in the workplace

Communications play a profound role in the productivity of your business. Examining your organization’s communication technology can help you transform employee interaction, production, and results. This transformation can lead your business to increased profits and opportunity for growth.

You can start with these four uses of communication technology to improve workplace productivity.

Switching to VoIP

Many businesses don’t think about how changes to their phone system may improve productivity. Computers aren’t the only core business technology to see major improvements over the years. While traditional landlines and fiber optics have benefits, voice over internet protocol (VoIP) is finding its place in business communications.

Instead of using traditional circuit transmission for voice communication, VoIP hardware and software enables voice communication through the Internet. Besides adding digital voice capabilities, VoIP enables video conferencing and real-time project collaboration with competitive cost and reliability versus wireline.

Implementing VoIP also allows for more operational flexibility and adapts to your business growth without installing expensive landline upgrades. Mind you, a strong and reliable internet connection with a robust bandwidth is a must-have. Fortunately, VoIP is available in packages to fit most IT budgets and bandwidth availability is consistently growing across the country.

Person using email in laptop

Standardizing e-mail

Employees lose precious time when business communication platforms and processes do not mesh seamlessly.

While most email readers offer similar features, some are better for addressing specific business needs and procedures. Ideally, your employees should all be using the email interface that works best with your business operations, policies and procedures.

Does your business rely heavily on web form submissions delivered via e-mail? What other sales, marketing or financial platforms need to use or record your emails? Are file attachments commonplace? Do you have team members using email in the office, on the road, or both? Do you automatically keep copies of all of your outgoing email? How long do you wait before a deleted email is permanently erased? Try to find what makes the most sense for your business and standardize it across departments.

After establishing which options best suit your business environment, make sure everyone uses that same program and process. You’ll waste less time trying to accommodate different processes among your different teams.

Extending collaboration

There is more to communications technology than simply making it easier for project team members to talk about their projects. Collaborative software called groupware is designed to help teams share information and interact directly to achieve common goals. Different platforms may include tools for time management and project management, workflow, spreadsheet and document management, and central data storage.

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Effective use of a collaborative communications system means no longer restricting your team members to a single office environment.

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They have the flexibility to contribute and collaborate from any place with a reliable and secure Internet connection. Even for a sensitive project with restricted access, collaborating across a secure internal network allows multiple contributors to pool talents, share ideas and efficiently reach project goals.

Putting data in the cloud

Utilizing the cloud to store data means members of different projects or departments access the same information to complete tasks. Salespeople can view new customer requests in real time. Technical team members can view activity logs and alerts. Account managers can see the latest issues and transactions. Customer service supervisors can review customer information to offer better solutions and training.

Once you maintain this information in the cloud, remote workers using sensible security protocols stay connected and active from anywhere.

It’s only going to get better

As business communications technology improves over the years, the opportunities for improving productivity will continue to grow. By examining your current communications setup and researching the available options, you are in a greater position to increase workplace productivity, build your business, and nurture customer confidence.

Your guide to modern business communication

Consistent, effective communication is the glue that holds a business together. As a business leader, you want the best communication tools available to keep the most important areas of your company working in harmony and to encourage optimal productivity.

When examining your current communications capabilities, consider how you could upgrade and improve in some areas to keep your business operating at its fullest potential.

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)

With 20 years of advancing VoIP technology, advantages in mobility, scalability, and cost over landline technology (POTS) continue to drive business adoption. VoIP developers are always improving the technology, so its value and quality will continue to increase.

As 5G mobile networks deliver 10x the speed of 4G, technical issues like call jitter and packet loss will disappear. Faster upload and download speeds will introduce more stable, high-quality sound and video streaming anywhere a strong 5G signal exists.

While wireline service is still available, VoIP reliability, features, and support will ultimately become the business communications standard.

mobile devices

Mobile devices

With wireless technology and cellular data networks constantly evolving, mobile devices are becoming more central to business operations and communication. Voice communication over smartphones is already central to modern business communications. So, the capability for cloud-based email, applications, and video means users will rely more heavily on mobile devices to do business.

Text messaging capabilities alone have already transformed business communication. In addition to simple text, advanced messaging and specialized mobile apps can send images, video, and business documents. Clients use them to facilitate ordering and requests and businesses use them to send status information. Automated and group text messaging also supports sharing important alerts, reminders, and other business-related information.

Smartphones and tablets are now essential collaboration tools since employees are not bound to physical office locations and machines. With sensible security protocols, the advantages of mobile technology for your business operations pay off in increased productivity and profit.

Remote access and cloud computing

Businesses have many choices for designing their network infrastructure. Wireless communication allows multiple options for businesses to allow remote employees to access a central network. Improvements in cybersecurity technology and practices mean you can maintain data and network protection from most cyber threats to work and collaborate remotely with confidence.

With cloud computing, the options for IT communication choices expand to include public, private, and hybrid cloud computing setups. Cloud computing increases the opportunities for employees to access cloud-based data and shared applications anywhere they have a secure Internet connection.

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According to Forbes, 83 percent of enterprise workloads (business or otherwise) will be using the cloud by 2020.

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Adopting cloud computing as a part of your overall business communications network makes sense for businesses who want to stay ahead.

Unified communications

Unified communications (UC) takes much of the above and ties it all together into a consistent, unified interface and experience across multiple devices and platforms.

The idea is to send a message in one medium and receive (or access) that same message in another. Voicemail can be received as a text message or email. Users online simultaneously can choose to communicate in real time via voice, text, or video according to preference. Other elements of unified communications include collaborative software, business process integration, and mobile devices.

All of this is accomplished through a customized, integrated suite of software designed with a standard appearance and interface so that the user experience is cohesive and consistent.

The power of effective communication

Good business communication can boost productivity and profit in making sure that every part of your operation is working seamlessly together. From adopting VoIP and effective use of mobile devices to cloud computing and unified communications, the latest communications technology can help position your business for success, growth and customer loyalty.

5 benefits of a unified communications system

Consolidating business information technology and communications infrastructure is a popular trend among businesses staying on the cutting edge in their fields. Unified communications (UC) systems standardize, integrate and simplify the use of many office tools, leading to greater customer satisfaction and employee morale.

In addition, there are a number of additional benefits to your business that should be considered ranging from lower cost to improved collaboration and more.  

Budget-friendly options

Given the variety of network resources and services that businesses have to manage and deliver, it is easy for any budget to run out of control. But choosing between software, hardware, cloud computing, data storage, internet, and network access is not an option. With a UC platform, all of those streams of expense are optimized and consolidated into a single monthly cost in which you’re only paying for those services you actually use.

Because most UC platforms use VoIP as the central communications foundation, you’re saving on resources and enjoying higher-quality audio and video. You also save money avoiding hardware replacement as it ages out. The mobile aspects of UC systems – connecting from nearly anywhere – can also lead to savings when it comes to travel expenses.

Single, yet flexible infrastructure

Unified communications means integrating all of the different forms of business communication into one interface and on a single server. This allows for easier administration and management, making upkeep and user accounting more efficient and consistent.

You may or may not even have server hardware onsite. It all depends on your company’s specific needs. Most UC platforms can be run solely from the cloud, or you could go with a hybrid option. That flexibility allows you to scale your UC system for both busy or quiet periods, and scale your overall platform as your company’s needs change over time.

Better mobility

As businesses expand their regions or make use of remote employees, a UC system is an excellent way to untether employees from workspaces without risking productivity. Employing a single number with unified messaging allows calls and voice messages to be handled by multiple devices all at once. In addition, the ability to use teleconferencing, video chat, and collaborative software is effective for most remote employees. Others – such as salespeople or technicians – can benefit from central ordering, inventory and work order management.

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UC mobility doesn’t necessarily benefit remote workers only. A unified communications setup makes in-house discussion and collaboration simpler and more efficient as well.

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Increased productivity

A properly placed UC system can greatly improve how individual employees, teams, and entire companies interact. By streamlining communications through a single interface, team members and groups can tighten communication despite distance or departments. Tangible results show in decreased response times and more accurate and up-to-date inventory control.

All of this can also lead to more efficient business decision-making as sales cycles increase. In addition, policies for remote workers can be implemented to encourage communication and collaboration for increased productivity outside the office.

Improved collaboration

Through a unified system of communication, employees, clients, and vendors can all connect with each other easily and exchange information in a more effective manner. The UC platform’s ability to manage efficient communication between distant users improves the quality of those interaction s– a must for any team with remote colleagues or technicians and salespeople working in the field. With everyone working in the same interface and the same toolset, you enjoy greater potential to maintain consistent quality at all levels of your business.

Bringing together voice and text communications, mobile devices, desktop workstations, and cloud-based software, successful projects are completed on time and on budget.

Adding it all up

Unified communications is still growing in popularity among the business community. Its advantages are evident when you research the benefits and measure them against the current costs of doing business competitively. Even considering the setup costs for your unified communications system, you can virtually guarantee a return on investment when UC is used effectively.

How unified communications can improve your productivity

Some businesses balk at the thought of installing a unified communications (UC) system because of the initial cost layout. It can seem risky when a business ventures into unknown territory. With more and more businesses adopting UC systems, the data shows that these businesses are enjoying notable ROI not only in budget savings but, more importantly, in company productivity.

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Increased productivity leads to increased profit and increased business growth.

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These are all Very Good Things.

Here are the primary ways a unified communications system can increase your company’s productivity.

Greater mobility

Mobility comes up a lot when discussing the benefits of unified communications. As more companies employ remote workers, set up satellite offices, create hot desk policies, and deploy sales and service in the field, the ability to communicate from nearly anywhere has become increasingly important. Employees need to answer their direct line, or “single number contact,” from any device or location. Whether they’re using a smartphone on the road, a traditional phone in the office, or a softphone setup on their PC, employees should experience no gaps in their ability to receive and respond to any call. A UC platform addresses that requirement.

This availability is not restricted to voice calls. Every employee working in the UC system can respond to text messaging or video conferencing with the same flexibility, no matter their location at the time. It doesn’t matter if the employee is working from a company-issued device or if they are part of a BYOD policy. A solid UC platform consolidates and connects all of these disparate communication avenues seamlessly.

Better collaboration via streamlined communication

UC platforms can encourage collaboration among employees by enabling them to interact more effectively across channels. A software-based UC solution can support high-quality video conferencing with colleagues or customers from around the world. Connecting to people via video leads to more effective presentations, product demos, and sales pitches. A face-to-face connection makes collaboration more personal and makes participants feel more invested in shared projects and goals.

Instant messaging through a UC platform has collaborative benefits, as well. Knowing when someone is available means that communication is more convenient because the parties are online at the same time. Less waiting around for individual replies means more productive brainstorming sessions and more responsive issue resolution.

Unified communications systems are also designed for broader access to different types of communications. A voicemail or chat message can deliver to your email. A text can notify you of a new voicemail or portal message. An email can convert to a voice message. A fax can convert to a PDF document to be printed or edited, saved, and re-delivered as another type of message. All of this runs through the unified platform serving your employees and customers.

No more missed messages. No more waiting for messages to be sent in alternate formats. The business and its users choose what works best for their preferred way of working.

Person using phone and laptop

Ease of use and efficiency

Authorized users – employees or customers – find using UC systems simple right away. Often, it’s just a click of a button that allows individuals to access web, audio, or video conferencing services. Better yet, they can do it all from any device or location without complicated plug-ins or patches. A UC platform is easy for everyone to use because it’s designed to work with all the major mobile device and computer operating systems.

Team conversations and side conversations with team members outside of the current group are equally simple, so nothing stands in the way of new input in a planning session. Built-in features for recording and sharing conversations, screens, notes, videos, and documents help avoid extra effort to share information or interactions.

Because UC systems use the same software interface and the same cloud-based applications in handling content, no one wastes time trying to adapt to different systems or programs. Everyone is working from the same book on the same page.

Even if each person saves 10 or 15 minutes a day using these features, that adds up to several hours in a work week, depending on the size of your team.

Overall productivity gains

Given the capabilities of unified communications systems to encourage teamwork, simplify and streamline communication, and allow the flexibility to work from anywhere, it’s no wonder that employing such a system leads to significant boosts in productivity.

Another advantage of implementing UC is the potential for increased employee and customer satisfaction. The versatility and ease of use of a UC platform can enhance your company’s profile and reputation, improve worker morale, sending a clear message to your clients that you’re a business committed to the future.